Monday, June 27, 2016

Hard Week

This past week was a pretty hard one for the Zambian missionary community. A much respected, veteran missionary went to be with the Lord last Monday, and as two of his daughters are teachers here, we were down two teachers for most the week, and then down half the staff on Saturday while others flew down to Chavuma for the funeral. I was also having a very challenging week personally, so the increased work load made for a rough weekend on, and a lot of prayer to just make it through.

On a funny note, I had a conversation I never thought would come up, about "Now there is a time and a place for arm farts..." following in incident in Sunday school. The things that come out of a teacher's mouth...

The other good thing in the midst of the mess of this past week, was my birthday box finally arrived, just short of a month late. Want to know what a box looks like after surviving the trek to the middle of nowhere where I live? Don't sent me breakables! There was this one terrible incident with barbecue sauce...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reports and Officially Winter Now

My big project for this week was to get my mid-term reports done. I will be passing them out to my students on Monday; I sure hope some people get a little shock in the right direction! I’ve also been e-mailing these reports to the parents who requested them, and sending e-mails celebrating A’s on recent tests and asking for prayer on recent fails. Never having worked at a ‘normal’ school, I have always been almost totally isolated from my parents except for beginning and end of terms. This year I am utilizing the tool of Class Dojo and more e-mail contact with my parents to try and recruit them to help me reach their children through encouragement, prayer, and admonition. I have received some lovely e-mails from parents, and now that my students know that A’s and F’s will be brought to their parents notice, it gives them an extra level of motivation to do their best. I want to be sure to communicate success as well as concerns, because each of our lives are a mixture of both. While it is a little more ‘administrivia’ for me, the results so far are well worth it. If a few e-mails will serve my students and their parents better, than that is a task I am happy to undertake!

Two of our short-termers flew out this week, and I find myself already missing them. An aspect of missionary life that is very difficult to communicate to people who have not lived it is the constant, emotionally exhausting cycle of hellos and goodbyes. These girls were a part of my life for only six weeks, but in that time they were such a blessing. Not only because they did photocopying and other school tasks for me, but because they spent meaningful time with me. God knew that in the midst of this year I was going to need a gift like these six weeks, and I am so grateful. I wish them all the best as they return to take summer classes and finish up their studies; who knows but that they might become full time missionaries themselves some day?

Today is our winter solstice, and now the short nights are going to start transitioning back to longer, warmer days. I am very grateful for my handknit sock collection just now; with temperatures getting down to 10 and 11°C at night in houses with cement floors, wool is a very welcome treat! The greater burning of Zambia is well under weigh; when I drove into Ikelenge to check the mail I saw much evidence of the smudges of smoke I have been observing on my afternoon walks. When I think how lush and green everything was just two months ago, it amazes me again how much this landscape changes during the year. We will start burning the school firebreak soon; they have already done some slashing in preparation for it. I look forward to the night they burn the side of the airstrip; I love to go up and watch it. When one considers the raw power of a bushfire, the devastation left in its wake, and the new green life that springs up in hope from the ashes, there are some powerful parallels with our own redemption story.

Monday, June 13, 2016


So, since this past week was a bit, shall we say 'tough' on the teaching front, here are some of the things that had me laughing. This is real live student work--not for the faint of heart!

“potmantoes” instead of portmanteaus (we were studying "Jabberwocky" in literature)

“waw” instead of wall. Gotta love 'Zamish!'

When labeling the phases of the moon for a worksheet- “fool moon.”

Did you know that the planets have an “epliptical” orbit? That all fractions reduce down to 1, and that 5 is divisible by 2 when convenient?

Also, I about lost it when someone read about bewaring of the “Nicolodians” instead of the Nicolaitans from Revelation 2.

What would life be like without laughter?

Here is another little glimpse into the glamour that is my life--every weekend I wash the microfiber and rags that we use to clean the school buildings. This past weekend I also took the time to wash the pile of handknit socks that had accumulated. These drying racks are one of the best items I have ever purchased; they are in CONSTANT use. To combat the damp laundry of wet season, or to make my microfiber crusades possible, I use these all the time.

It's getting to be that time of year again--the greater burning of Zambia. The school hasn't started working on its firebreak yet, but the fires around us are getting closer. I'm also seeing more ash around--I'll have to start drying more things indoors again...

Parting shot: I pulled out and resighted the telescope scope recently. Here is a picture of the waxing moon.

Monday, June 6, 2016

There was a half-term, lots of marking, and some much needed sleep

In brief, here are a few highlights of the last week.

* Friday and Saturday were half-term, so I did early morning swim (very, VERY cold!), marked a lot, chased some kids for extra math help, and supervised down at the pool.

* Because it was my weekend off, I finally got a good nap on Saturday and Sunday, and I decided that Saturday afternoon and evening were a 'no mark' zone. Best decision I've made in awhile.

* I got the telescope out again and showed some short-termers Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Further attempts to photograph them through the telescope will continue.

* One of our staff families is heading out for a furlough that will last till the start of next year on Thursday this week, so they are trying to get everything wrapped up and sorted before they go.

* This week is our 6th week of school, so I will be working on mid-term marks, giving and grading more tests, and communicating with parents about how their kids are doing.

Well, that about sums up what is going on in my life right now. I'm wrapping up astronomy and poetry, and trying to the fractions units in math wrapped up. I'm loving the new screen and projector in my classroom, and I'm trying to save some rose cutting that the gardener flooded. Never a dull moment!